As Ramadan begins, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa extended well-wishes to the country’s Muslim community while keeping in mind those grieving in Verulam, which has seen a Shia mosque attacked in recent days.
“The importance and benefits of this holy month of fasting, piety and charity extends beyond the lives of Muslims, as it contributes to the spiritual and social well-being of all South Africans,” Ramaphosa said. “This is a month that allows all of us to reflect on – and act on – the small, thoughtful things we can do to contribute to a better society.”
Ramaphosa said his thoughts particularly go out to Verulam, a town in KwaZulu-Natal province where an attack Friday on the Imam Hussaini Shia Mosque left one person dead and two others injured. The stabbings and arson were followed by the discovery of a homemade explosive device at the mosque Sunday.
The President said he expects justice to prevail, and Verulam will be able to experience Ramadan “as the period of peace and goodwill it is meant to be.”
South African police said Monday they have not established a motive for the attacks and no arrests have been made but they are urgently pursuing the investigation.
The Anglican bishop for the diocese where the attack occurred also has sent his condolences and a message of solidarity to Muslims in the community.
“The fact that this took place in a place of worship, makes its brutality even more shocking. We offer our sincere condolences to those who are bereaved,” said Rev. Dino Gabriel. “ As people of faith, we pray for those who are injured, and for the community of Verulam as they come to terms with this senseless act of violence.”
Image: Reaction Unit South Africa